Sunday, Jan 23rd 2011.
This 3rd Sunday of 2011 kicked off for me when I heard John Spillane and his brother Maurice doing an interview on “Miriam meets” (RTE Radio 1). It was spellbinding. John and I share many things in common from our boyhood days (mine in Kildare and his in Cork 15 years later). His “Everyone needs a Rock” is a classic. Lovely too to hear his brother’s perspective on the young John’s gradual ascent into this world of music and song.
I have just landed back down here into the Rebel County where Declan Sinnott and I will commence the next leg of our Hi Fi travelling … I have songs ready to sing and he has his guitars restrung and polished, microphones modulated and ready for the onslaught coming their way.
I filmed the song “They never came home” for a programme called “Scannal” (scandal). It’s a documentary to mark the 30th anniversary of the Stardust Disco disaster when 48 young ones lost their lives in an inferno on Valentine’s Night 1981.It will be transmitted on Feb 14th on RTE TV.
The Barrowlands DVD was very well received on New Years Night. I feel a debt of gratitude to TG4 for transmitting the Film and giving it such a good spot. They were very pleased with viewing figures. I think it will be shown on BBC2 (or perhaps BBC4) next St Patrick’s night.
Our dear friend Jim McCrann was laid to rest last Tuesday. Lar and Deirdre attended the service and carried the 4711ers flag. I will never forget him.
Thank you for all the queries and invites to so many different time zones. Who knows what’s gonna happen?
There is political chaos here. Everything seems to change by the hour. The right hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and the left hand is not too far behind. There is nothing upon which to commentate. A general election looms, we are in hock up to our oxters. Hopefully we will see the implosion and demise of the scoundrel part. Many rats are jumping ship to retire on large pensions… others are circling each other waiting to gorge upon the next bedfellow to fall. Let them follow their Leaders into shameful exile. Maybe a jorum quorum of Bertie, Mary Harney, Charlie McCreevey, Ray Burke, Ivor Callely, Pee Flynn, The Bev, Michael Lowry, all the Healy Rae’s and John O’Donoghue could start a Travelling Funfair Party going from town to town with scary rides, bumpers, hairyplanes, freak shows, oily poles, wall of death. Senator Harris could provide strategy and Senator Cassidy put up the posters… Lábhrás could lay on the cabaret and Willie O’Dea could use his contacts to book the late night entertainment… first The Church, then The Banks and now Fianna Fail…we’re nearly home and dry.
Monday, January 24th
I realised today that its 42 years since my first recording in Sound Techniques, London. Despite all that’s gone down since I am right back at the beginning as I start recording once again. I have no idea how it’s going to be. It is just Declan and I today in his studio. He is wearing (at least) 4 hats. Musician, co-producer, engineer, co-arranger. We have decided to try this out, see how it works. We got quite a bit done 4 or 5 basic tracks laid down and a few others attempted but abandoned. Declan has made some interesting comments about my approach to recording which is completely different to his. My main problem is that I have never fully engaged with the process, I am not at my ease in studios and from the moment the recording starts I give the impression that I want the whole bloody business over and done with. Get the songs recorded, mixed and released. Let me get on with my gigging! This must be difficult for those who properly engage with the process. There are those who wish to fully engage with the process, take time examining the possibilities with sound, colour and direction… all the wonderful magical things that can be done in recording studios. There are artists who will spend years developing their projects and I have nothing but admiration (and occasional envy) for their commitment and diligence. I am still learning, it is all brand new once again. The magic and mystery of the recording process… Folk Tale, Take One…
Tuesday, January 25th
I am billeted in The Innishannon Hotel, a family run hotel on the banks of the Bandon River. Its about 5 miles from the studio. Kicked off this morning but our efforts were thwarted by numerous frogs in the throat. We adjourned to Bandon where the Chemist gave me various anti frog-in-the-throat remedies. Before heading back into the mountains we took lunch in URRU where they lovingly dispense top sangwedges and good coffee. Back out in the studio we hit a purple patch and lashed down a right few basic tracks before evening came … this work is all consuming, I was up to speed with the rows and ructions of State until I started into the zone… have not heard a thing now for 48 hours… no TV, Radio, Papers… Jackie Healy Rae could be Minister for Foreign Affairs by now, Michael Lowry Minister for Finance and Mary Harney could be President (Last night there were four Marys, Hail Mary, Holy Mary, Hairy Mary and Mary Harney)
Friday, January 28th
Back to the home town, Newbridge on the banks of the river Liffey where we were born and reared by our parents Andy Moore of Barronstown, Miltown and Nancy Power of Yellow Furze, Co.Meath.The occasion was a gig by our youngest brother Luka Bloom who started playing guitar and singing when he was 12 and has not stopped ever since. It was a great night. The Ryston Hall was set up beautifully and dressed in curtains and drapes. There were sculptures of bog oak which were beautifully positioned and lit, the gig was carefully set up by Noel Heavey, Gabrielle Brabazon and Mary Linehan, ably assisted by a host of volunteers from The Culture Factory and The Crooked Wood Theatre group. I have been listening to Luka sing for over 40 years and this gig crowned it all. It was a very special night for our family and our “kid” brother really shone. Special songs included “Outlaw Days” from his first album Treaty Stone, a new song “Backbone and Dignity”, his tribute to our old pal Gerry Rafferty (he sang “Her father didn’t like me anyway” which Luka used to perform with Aes Triplex circa 1972)… then to top it off Kildare won the O’Byrne Cup on Sunday….Lily Whites Abu.
Sunday, January 30th
I hooked up with Tim Edey in O’Shea’s Merchant pub where we were shown great hospitality. We found a quiet corner and a large pot of tea and we sang and played for 3 hours. Tim is going to join me on a batch of songs which will be recorded over the coming months. Then in came Seamus Begley and we drank more tea and talked about the box players whom we love to hear… Joe Burke, Finbar Dwyer, Fintan Stanley, Raymond Roland, Brendan Begley, Dermot Byrne… all the different slants on tunes, the different angles and takes…how this great big confusing wonderful world can be reduced, for some, into the turn of a melody, the grace upon the notes….far too soon twas time to go but we’ll be back again before too long.
Wednesday, February 2nd
I attended the launch of a new initiative which was announced under the banner “Turn off the Red Light”. In Ireland there lurks a horrific sex trafficking industry. Within this industry are as many as 2000 women and children many of whom are trafficked and enslaved by criminal elements both Irish and International. These misfortunates are, probably, the least protected and most abused members of our society. A number of agencies have come together to demand that legislation be passed to protect them. There are many misconceptions and much prejudice. I was invited to attend by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy and I was deeply moved by what I heard. If you would like more information it is available at www.turnofftheredlight.ie
Later the same day…
I went to the launch of Richard Boyd Barrett’s campaign towards the upcoming General Elections. He represents the “People before Profit” movement and will run as part of the United Left Alliance. I have known Richard for over 10 years and have stood beside him in a number of campaigns both local and international. He did extremely well in the last general election and I am hoping he will sit in the next Dáil. I believe he would be a strong voice for those among us who are least represented by the three major right wing parties. There will be a fund raising concert for the “People before Profit” in Dun Laoghaire next week.
Saturday, February 5th
There seems to be some talk on 4711ers.org about a possible 2nd gathering. Is there a desire out there for such an event? You might consider going onto the thread at the sister site and give your thoughts. We have nothing in place nor planned… some input and thoughts about when, where and what might give us some possible ideas. It needs to be different from last time… best that all thoughts and suggestions are posted to the existing thread at 4711ers.org.
Back at the songs with Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill joining us for a few days fretting and bowing… good company, plenty of anecdotes shared from our different journeys… the wind howling up the mountain from the Bandon River as we got down to it.
Sunday February 6th
Sad news about the passing of Gary Moore. I met him a few times over 40 years, most memorably at a Planxty gig in London 1973. Nicky Ryan invited him along to hear the band and we hooked up after the show for a long night of capers and tunes. Last heard him play when he came over from London to pay tribute to Jimmy Faulkner at the Olympia Theatre Dublin in 2009.There are some great shots from that night in the Gallery. He played his heart out for Jimmy that night. I loved to hear him play. He got big round beautiful sounds from his guitars; he played with emotion, style, attitude an tons of ability. He was very much a front man. I did not know him well nor am I overly familiar with his repertoire but I loved to watch him and listen to him. ” Gone with Stevie Ray and Jessie Ed Davis, died too young and too premature, another Rock and Roller gone but not forgotten, gone to jam with Rory in the blues” (Nigel Rolfe). Rest in Peace Gary Moore.
There will be a gig in The Fairways Hotel, Dundalk on Friday, May 13th. Tickets will go on sale shortly … Keep an eye on the gigs page.
All the best,